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Tips for Writing Effective Brochures
It's almost a lost art. In this day and age, a splashy, attention-getting design is what people typically want in their product brochures. So much so that the wording often gets overlooked. But writing effective brochures, although indeed an art, needn't become a lost one.
The fact is, once the brochure gets the attention of somebody, there had better be some decent verbiage in it. Pictures are nice but, contrary to what you may have heard, are not worth a thousand words. A thousand words are worth a thousand words. And if they're the right ones, no picture will ever come close.
For the purposes of a brochure, you have to assume that your images will entice a "viewer" to want to become a "reader." That's the goal, after all. If you've done the graphic part correctly, then the words matter even more because you've successfully gotten the attention of somebody, somebody who is interested in what you're offering. But the interest will fade unless you can maintain it with effective text.
Remember the Goal of the Brochure
If the purpose of the brochure's design is to capture the attention of a prospective customer, then what's the purpose of the words? To get them to take action. What's the proper action? It might be to visit your Web site, it might be to get them to want to come into your store, it might be to get them to want to pick up the phone and call you. Whatever it is, you need to always keep the goal of the brochure in mind as you are writing it. Every word should in some way be written to help effect the action you want taken.
Often times people make the mistake of thinking the brochure's purpose is to sell the product. This is rarely the case, unless the product is an inexpensive retail item. For the most part, the purpose should be to whet the appetite of the prospective customer enough to where he or she is induced to take the aforementioned action. The sale is typically made over the phone, or on the Web site, or in your store. Don't use the brochure as a crutch, or as a substitute for good, old-fashioned selling. It's a stepping stone.
Create Some Curiosity
Along those same lines, don't make the mistake of putting absolutely everything about the product into the brochure. Sometimes a brochure's effectiveness is in what is left out. Give the reader of the brochure a reason to contact you. Leave a couple questions unanswered. A good brochure will generate some curiosity, leave a little to the imagination, and make the reader want to find out more.
Keep it Brief
In addition to giving all the product's secrets away, cramming too much information into a brochure can also have the effect of overwhelming the reader. It pains me, as a writer, to have to say this, but people don't take the time to read anymore. At least not thoroughly and completely. If there's too much to read, they might not even start. Design your brochure with a lot of empty space, make it clean and neat. Organize the text in small paragraphs. Use bullet points. Highlight especially important things for those people who will skim and not read.
Who's the Reader?
Finally, always keep in mind who the reader is. Try to put yourself into the shoes of your prospective customer and keep those things in mind that would be particularly important to him or her. Spend some time thinking about what motivates somebody to purchase what you are selling. Most times, purchases are made with some level of emotion involved. So try to generate some emotion. What wonderful things will happen to somebody who purchases your product or service? What terrible things will happen if they don't, or if they purchase the competitor's? Put it into words. Make the reader feel it.
By keeping the goal of the brochure in mind (the desired action you want the reader to take), writing the brochure in such a way so as to elicit great curiosity, keeping the text brief and to the point, and by employing empathy with your prospective customers, you can write an effective brochure. Remember, the words are every bit as important, if not more so, than the design.
Copyright 2009, Jerry Payne
Article Source: Tips for Writing Effective Brochures
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